Friday, February 22, 2013

Organizing Fabric

Organizing your fabric can be quite the task. I have found that a good way to approach the process is to start by identify what type of projects you will like to work on. I start by separating my fabric based on home decorating projects, clothing, quilting, etc. I also teach sewing classes, so I further subdivide my fabric based on the type of projects I plan on doing with my students. For example, cotton prints that are suitable for aprons are all placed together, while flannels for pyjama projects are also grouped together.

Much of what I found on the internet seem to focus on quilters and many of the links I found showed how to organize smaller pieces of fabric. But what do you do if you have different types of textiles with varying weights and other differences that make them difficult to group together in neat little draws or bins? The challenge I had was organizing different types of fabric, and simply folding and stacking did not seem to work very well.

Whenever possible I try to get fabric that is on the bolt. However, if you are purchasing smaller lengths of fabric or the fabric store will rather not part with the cardboard, folding can be your only option. To organize my fabric I created my own fabric boards that are 8 1/2 inches x 11 inches for smaller quantities of fabric and larger boards that are 7 1/2 inches x 24 inches for longer pieces of fabric. Usable scraps are placed in plastic bins and are separated and labeled according to fabric type. I made my fabric boards from white plastic corrugated signboard that I purchased at the art store. The boards were available in two sizes 24 inches x 32 inches and 31 1/2 inches x 47 1/2 inches.

Here is how I made my fabric boards:

  • Sheet of plastic corrugated sign board
  • Ruler
  • Utility knife
  • Pencil
  • Eraser

  1. Create a template out of cardboard or paper for the size board you will like to make
  2. Decided on the placement of by boards to get the most out of the material
  3. Use a pencil to draw your lines
  4. Use the ruler to guide your cuts
  5. Trim any excess material
  6. Fold your fabric on boards

8.5" x 11" Cardboard Template.

Pencil lines outlining six individual 8.5" x 11" boards.

A ruler helps to guide your cut.

Folded fabric!

Fits nicely in my IKEA Billy Bookcase.

The material I used works well for light to medium weight fabric. For heavier weight fabric, I fold and store on shelves or in plastic bins. I prefer to use plastic containers vs. cardboard boxes, because I have found that they last longer and protect better against moisture or dampness.

Depending on how much fabric you have to organize, here are a few links that might be helpful:

Craftaholics Anonymous - Ideas for Storing Fabric

I will be back soon with more tips on how to organize fabric. However, I will love to hear about how you organize your fabric and any tips and tricks you may have.


  1. Love this idea. I ran out of the white boards that I bought at a teacher's garage sale. They were the perfect size for folding/storing my fabric.
    Thanks for posting this idea. I will find the corrugated plastic sign board as soon as our winter weather here in TX subsides. It's freezing and sleeting and snowing here. Brr.
    P.S. I'll be looking for you on pinterest, too.

    1. Thanks Beth! I am happy you like the idea. It has worked very well for me and helps to keep the fabric organized. Thanks for the Pinterest follow:

  2. Great idea to use the sign boards. Now I know what to do with the signs I have from an old school fund raiser. If you see signs for a fund raiser, contact the person running the event and ask if you can have some of the signs after the event is over. The signs usually get discarded or recycled. Better to repurpose them!

    1. Thanks Evelyne, that is a great idea for where to source the signboards. I recently got quite a bit from a friend; they had been used for a work golf tournament and were scheduled for the trash. I had to clean a couple of them, but it has been well worth the effort.


Thanks for your comments!

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